Skip to main content

Zane Booker

Zane Booker
Photo from Artist Website:

The working title for the 2011 Window on the Work  is "Looking for Joe Beam."

The research for this piece is based on works by Joe Beam, Essex Hemphill and Marlon Riggs. The dance we created is a mediatation on what was revealed to us , the cast, about their lives and the suffering connected to HIV/AIDS. Through discussion and self-reflection we connected to these activists and hope that a small part of what they went through is captured in this work.

Window on the Work: September 30, 2012, Troy Dance Studio


Zane Booker, a native Philadelphian, began his dance training at the age of seven with the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts under the direction of Joan Myers Brown. By age fourteen he was selected by Ms. Brown to perform with Philadanco. He went on to become one of the Company's principal artists dancing roles created by Talley Beatty, Louis Johnson and Gene Hill Sagan. Zane went on to pursue a degree at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Encouraged by his teachers to continue his training at the School of American Ballet, Zane moved to New York, auditioned and was accepted into the SAB. Once there, he was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to augment his studies at the American Ballet Theater.  Zane maintained a rigorous training schedule at both institutions for two years.

During a trip to Holland with the School of American Ballet to perform on a joint program with the Vagonava School, Zane auditioned for the Netherlands Dance Theater. He was quickly accepted into the company and spent the next six years dancing under the direction of Jiri Kylian. As a soloist he danced roles created by Kylian, Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Mats Ek and Ohad Nahrin. In 1996 Zane accepted an offer to join Les Ballets De Monte Carlo under the direction of Jean Christophe Maillot. During his tenure there he was featured in ballets created by John Alleyne, Ted Brandsen and Jean Christophe Maillot.

Zane left Les Ballets De Monte Carlo in 1999 to accept invitations to appear as a guest artist with major ballet companies around the world including the new National Theater of Tokyo, Philadanco, Complexions, Les Ballet De Monte Carlo, the Opera of Monte Carlo, and Rhythmek. During this period Zane also focused his energies on creating choreographies for universities, ballet companies, operas and musical productions. His credits include works for the Philadelphia Dance Company, Mogador Theatre-Paris, the Jackson Ballet Competition and the Opera of Monte Carlo. Mr. Booker has also taught for companies and schools in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. After moving back to the U.S., Zane was invited to dance with Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project. There he danced for two years before the group disbanded.

In 2006 Zane became the founder and artistic director of the Smoke, Lilies and Jade Arts Initiative (SLJ), a socially conscious, multimedia, dance theater company, promoting HIV/ AIDS awareness. He created Ebony, Beige and Bronze: The Philadelphia Show to inspire social consciousness about HIV/AIDS. Dance Magazine chose SLJ as one of 25 companies to watch in 2007. Zane is a master lecturer at University of the Arts and Howard University.